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CITATIONWrit petition PIL No. 132 of 2014
DATE OF JUDGEMENT13th February, 2023
COURTAllahabad High Court
CASE TYPECriminal Case (Indian Penal Code,1860), Rape Case.
APPELLANTSuneeta Pandey
RESPONDENTState of U.P. and another
BENCHThe Hon’ble Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav
REFFEREDEven though a woman cannot commit a crime of rape but if she involved in a happening of an act, she will be held liable.


In the above-mentioned case, there was a woman Suneeta Pandey, who claimed in front of the court that she cannot be tried for the offence of gang rape, because she is a woman and the act of rape cannot be done by a woman. The opposite party said that although a woman cannot commit a crime of rape but if she facilitate the act then she will be liable and can also get rigorous imprisonment of more than 20 years and also can be charged with a fine. The applicant’s side presented that she is a woman and cannot have the intention of rape, in support of their favor they quoted the verdict of the Supreme Court’s judgement in Priya Patel v State of Madhya Pradesh and another (2006) in which a woman cannot be held guilty for the gang rape. They also took the reference from the case of apex court’s judgement in State of Rajasthan v Hemraj and another (2009) in which a woman cannot have the common intention to rape. And further if she is not guilty of crime she will also be not punishable under Section 376-D of the Indian Penal Code,1860. Section 319 of Cr.P.C. on which the accusation was been by the victim and by the respondent’s side was not enough and the facts which was presented before the court were not able alone to be tried under these Sections of IPC and Cr.P.C.  

According to the informant the incident took place on 24th June 2015, the informant was the father of the victim and when she was missing, he lodged an F.I.R., wherein an unknown person had taken away his 15 year old daughter. When the victim was found her statement was recorded under section 161 and 164 of Cr.P.C. in which she said that the applicant (Suneeta Pandey) was involved in that incident but her name was not in the chargesheet. The victim said that the woman plotted her and allured her to a lonely place where a group of men were waiting and eventually the act of rape supposed to happen. The opposite party filed an application for the summoning of the appellant under Section 376-D and 212 of Cr.P.C.


In this case there were following issues: –

  • That whether a woman can be held liable for the offence of gang rape ?
  • Can she face trial for the offence of gang rape ?
  • Can she be punished for this ?

These were the questions and the challenges before the High Court.


This case was decided by the Hon’ble Justice Shekhar Kumar Yadav on 13th February, 2023. In this case it was observed that according to Section 375 of Indian Penal Code, explains the definition of rape as – Sexual Intercourse with a woman against her will, without her consent,  by coercion, misrepresentation or fraud or at a time when she has been intoxicated or duped, or is of unsound mind or in any case she is a minor or under 18 years of age, and there was a punishment under Section 376-D, that if a person commits gang rape, he will be liable for rigorous imprisonment of 20 years for natural life plus fine paid to the victim.

Section 375 states that the act of rape can only be done by man and cannot be done by any woman because it requires a penetration for the committing of rape. Section 376-D states that even if the rape has been done by only one person but all the involved persons will be guilt. It is the joint liability and a very essence of the gang rape and there must be common intention. According to Section 11 a person means any company or association or body of persons whether they are agreeing or not shall be included in the meaning of the person. The Oxford English dictionary says that a ‘person’ is an individual human being whether a man or woman or child irrespectively and a living being. A woman can also be held liable for the act of gang rape if she helps in the completion of the act or involved in any way or in any means. So, the judgement was that the case which was filed by the offender herself was dismissed, keeping in view of the foretold facts  and thus, Thus, it was held that a women cannot commit the offence of rape, but if she facilitated the act of rape with a group of people then she may be prosecuted for gang rape in view of the amended provisions.



Women cannot commit rape, but if she facilitated the act of rape with a group, she may be prosecuted for gang rape: Allahabad High Court | SCC Blog (scconline.com)

WOMAN’S LIABILITY, OFFENCE OF RAPE, Allahabad High Court, controversial verdict, Section 482 of Code of Criminal Procedure, the Indian Penal Code, 1860, gang rape, Suneeta Pandey vs. State Of U.P. And Another, Citation – Writ Petition, committing sexual offences, reinforces gender stereotypes, legal experts, violence and discriminations, citizens (maheshwariandco.com)

This article is written by Anugrah Kurre of Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya, intern at Legal Vidhya.

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